A judge has ordered New Brunswick’s liquor authority to rethink its decision to award a Fredericton-area agency outlet to a Moncton company, even though construction on the business is well underway.

Chris Scholten’s family has operated a convenience store and gas station in Hanwell for decades. He applied for the NB Liquor agency store last year but was denied.

When the Crown corporation awarded the agency store to a Moncton-based company, Scholten challenged the decision, citing NB Liquor’s own criteria that awards established, local operators.

“It's been 14 months that we've been living this and there is some reassurance that our comments and our opinions were found to be justified," says Scholten.

The court ruling is also being welcomed by the community of Hanwell, where thousands of people signed a petition urging NB Liquor to review its decision. 

“With the ruling coming back from the judge saying yes, that she basically agreed with us, saying that it wasn't done right and that it needs to be done again," says Hanwell resident Gayla MacIntosh.

A spokesperson for NB Liquor says the corporation is still reviewing the decision and would not be speaking about the matter at this time.

Scholten says he would like to see the liquor authority review and re-grade its original decision.

“The next step, quite frankly, is in the hands of NB Liquor, of what they want to do, and I can’t comment more than that,” says Scholten.

CTV News made several attempts to contact the Moncton company awarded the agency outlet, but calls were not returned.

It is not known whether NB Liquor or the Moncton company will appeal the court ruling. Scholten assumes one of the parties could, but is celebrating what he calls a community victory for now.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell